Student charged with misdemeanor for residence hall fire in hate-crime hoax

A former Viterbo University student has been charged with one misdemeanor count of negligent handling of burning materials after police say she set a fire inside her dorm in April for “attention purposes.”

Victoria Unanka, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine or nine months in prison, or both, according to the criminal complaint.

Unanka, through her attorney, entered a not guilty plea at a court hearing on Wednesday, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

Police had arrested her on charges of arson and negligent handling of burning materials, but La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke told The College Fix via email on Thursday that he did not see arson in this case.

“Arson is for burning a structure, this looks more like a dangerous situation to get attention [by] setting fire to a garbage can,” he said via email.

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